When an endowed scholarship program for $25,000 was established by Robert Roetman to honor the memory of his daughter, Gabriella Jeanne, some wondered why this New Jersey native would fund a Texas A&M University at Galveston scholarship. Others wanted to contribute to the scholarship to honor this generous donor whose only tie to the university was the love of his daughter.
Gabriella loved marine mammals and conservation. It was her dream to pursue a career in marine biology and attend Texas A&M University at Galveston. But when she was involved in a fatal traffic accident, many thought her dream had ended. But, her father decided to keep her dream and memory alive by funding the education of those who have the same aspirations as his daughter.
"Gabriella loved the ocean," Robert said. “I chose to endow a scholarship at Texas A&M University at Galveston because it was my daughter's dream to attend college there. We both love the ocean and I always had a hope for the future for us. For me, I need to focus on something that will bring good out of this tragedy, and if I can help one if not many people go after their passion, go after their dream, that's what I'm aiming for.”
Although Robert committed $25,000 for the endowment over five years, he says his personal goal is to raise $100,000.
Like Gabriella, generations have been attracted to Texas A&M University at Galveston to teach and learn about the sea. Texas A&M University at Galveston has populated research laboratories and expeditions, marine and military vessels, boardrooms and classrooms of the world. And now, with the endowment of the Gabriella Jeanne Memorial Scholarship, aspiring students will have the opportunity to join their ranks. And, Robert will realize his daughter's dreams through other deserving students.
For more information the Gabriella Jeanne Memorial Scholarship, go to the Texas A&M Foundation website http://giving.tamu.edu/news/default.aspx or the Texas A&M University at Galveston website http://www.tamug.edu/develop/